Also known as Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, CEREC uses computer-generated images to produce specific devices or pieces that can be used to correct a damaged tooth in real time. The procedure is performed during a single visit with the use of a CAD machine that digitally designs a specific element. The design is then created through the use of a computer automated manufacturing system. Once the item has been designed and produced, the dentist completes the procedure without the patient ever having to leave the dental chair. The ceramics that are used are extremely durable and will last for several years.
Most of the hardware associated with crowns and bridges are designed to be permanent. The ceramic crowns and caps, however, may eventually need to be replaced depending on the type of materials that are used in their construction. Gold crowns are the most durable and are often considered to be permanent. Crowns that are made of porcelain and ceramic may last for several years, but can eventually begin to show wear and tear on the surface edges. They can also be cracked or chipped if the person is involved in an accident. Temporary crowns made of hard plastic may also be used, but are not as durable and will need to be replaced more often.
Bridges and crowns are used to replace missing teeth that have left large holes or gaps in the gum line. If a tooth is lost, the support it provided to the teeth on either side is gone. The remaining teeth may begin to shift closer to the open area causing them to turn or throw off a person's bite pattern. Creating a bridge and placing it in the open area prevents teeth from shifting. The bridge acts as an abutment that supports and stabilizes the teeth on either side. The bridge is also beneficial to the gum. With the bridge in place, the gums will not tend to shrink away as fast as if the teeth were still missing.